A Troubadour Carries On

Born in Missouri and pursuing music in LA and Texas, Dana Cooper is now based in Nashville. Along the way, he has made 28 albums and won numerous awards. It all started very early for Dana, with his earliest memories including his father taking him to popping a coin in the jukebox and listening to Dana sing along with Hank Williams & Ernest Tubb, and walking, train hopping and bus riding to see Tubb in concert. Although he also shared his family’s propensity for visual art, Dana followed the musical muse and ended up in LA with a record contract back in 1973. Despite enjoying working with members of “The Section,” Russ Kunkel and Leleand Sklar, as well as other luminaries, as well as putting in the hard work of touring to support it, the record didn’t go anywhere and he was dropped.

“It was devastating when I lost my deal, but about a year later I realized it was one of the best things that could have happened to me…” With hindsight, Dana realized that the rock & roll lifestyle that he was sliding into might have been even worse for him. He ended up taking more of a “troubadour” approach, resulting in a long, productive musical journey. “I was just thinking the other day, what an interesting path it’s been for me, and how fortunate I’ve been…As impoverished as I may have been at any point in time, I’ve always had music to turn to.”

Dana’s latest milepost is I Can Face the Truth. Unlike his previous recordings, which often resulted when he had a accumulated a critical mass of new tunes and felt the time was right to release them, this one came out of a conversation with co-producer and multi-instrumentalist Dave Coleman back in 2018. “My career, honestly, was kind of languishing…For a couple of years…I was still doing it, and loving it when I could get up on stage and play, but really in a quandary as to what I was going to do next.” He ran into Dave at a club where he was playing with his band and Dave invited him over to his studio. After recording what would be the album’s title track, they committed to a project together. It took a while to amass the needed songs, but Dana’s renewed drive kept him going. “I was touring a lot. I just kind of wrote the songs, a lot of them on the road, co-wrote some of them…A couple were older songs I had never recorded.”

By Dan Walsh

Check out Dana Cooper’s website here. Listen to the full interview here.